Around 40 AD, Mary is believed to have appeared to the apostle James the Greater in modern-day Zaragoza, Spain. The Blessed Mother was standing on a pillar of jasper, helped by two angels, an apparition that led to the devotion to Our Lady of the Pillar.
According to tradition, at the time, St. James was evangelizing to the Romans in modern-day Spain and was encountering great struggles and discouragement. While he was praying by a river, Mary bilocated from Jerusalem to bring St. James encouragement and consolation.
Today, the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is located at the site of the apparition in Zaragoza, Spain. This cathedral was the first church dedicated to Mary in Church history.
The basilica contains majestic artwork; the main attraction is the wooden statue of Our Lady, standing on a jasper column. Many well-known Church figures and leaders have visited the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, including St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Ignatius of Loyola.
To learn more about Marian apparitions and major Catholic pilgrimage sites, check out Fr. David Vincent Meconi’s 101 Surprising Facts About Mary, sold here.